Dr Eddie Ho Kang-wai
Honorary University Fellow (2020)
In the Gospel of Matthew there is the saying, “… the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve…” Today, we have a shining example of a faithful servant leader as mentioned in the Bible, Dr Eddie Ho Kang-wai, our own graduate, the former Director of Student Affairs (DSA), and now an outstanding community builder since his retirement from the University.
The young Eddie studied Sociology at Hong Kong Baptist College (HKBC), the precursor to HKBU, in 1969. After graduation, he worked for two years at his alma mater before pursuing the Master of Education programme at the University of Georgia in the USA. Upon completion of the programme, he returned to HKBC to resume his service for another two years, before going back to Georgia again to complete his PhD studies. Equipped with a doctoral degree, Dr Ho returned to HKBC and took up the position of Assistant Dean of Basic Studies. He later headed the new Institutional Research and Planning Unit, before taking up the DSA position in 1989, a post he held until his retirement.
Dr Ho led the Office of Student Affairs during a phase of rapid development for the University. As DSA, he helped establish a professional identity for his Office, putting what he had learned in Georgia to good use. Fully committed to a Whole Person Education, he restructured the student services in order to achieve its goal. He also supported and encouraged student participation in university governance. HKBU was the first local tertiary institution to include a student representative as a full member of its governing body.
When the institution gained university standing in 1994, there arose the need to revamp the Student Assembly to address the change in status. Dr Ho successfully turned the Assembly into an educational forum while keeping its Christian heritage. He helped invite eminent people from all walks of society to give talks at the Assembly, with some of the speakers and topics suggested by the students.
An advocate of servant leadership, Dr Ho came up with many innovative ideas for student development projects, and he often enlisted the help of senior students, alumni, professors, and business leaders. During his tenure, he achieved several “firsts” in student development works among local institutions. HKBU was the first local university to collaborate with Harvard University in the Model United Nation (UN) programme, under which our students were sent overseas to attend an authentic simulation of the UN committee structure. We set up the first University-YMCA Club in Hong Kong, and launched, with funding from the Wofoo Foundation, the first Leadership Training Programme among local tertiary institutions. These programmes aimed to prepare and embolden students to be future leaders with both a global vision and a commitment to serving society. Furthermore, Dr Ho and other colleagues initiated, with funding from the University Grants Committee, the Whole Person Development Inventory, an evidence-based assessment tool which measures students’ development potential upon entry into the Institution, and helps them plan ahead for their academic studies and co-curricular activities. This Hong Kong-first assessment tool quickly drew attention in the tertiary education sector, and it has now also been made available to several local and overseas institutions.
When the University applied for government funding in the 1990s to build its first set of student residence halls, Dr Ho was closely involved in the planning process, from site selection to infrastructure design. Today, the University’s student halls have a robust governance structure that incorporates all aspects of hall education. The halls have become not just a cosy home but also an ideal setting for co-curricular programmes for residents.
In 2001, Dr Ho encouraged students from the Leadership Development Programme to join hands with local secondary schools to stage the “Ode to Joy, Recorder Chorus for Love” event at the Hong Kong Jockey Club Shatin Racecourse and raise funds for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). In the end, 3,337 students from 76 primary and secondary schools, with the assistance of 100 HKBU student volunteers, joined the event, which raised more than half a million Hong Kong dollars for MSF. The event also garnered a new Guinness World Record for the University.
On behalf of the University, Dr Ho agreed to lead the secretariat that served the “China Synergy Programme for Outstanding Youth”, under which a group of 200 outstanding local and overseas students were recruited to visit Hong Kong and several major cities on the Mainland. The event not only put HKBU on the world map, but also promoted the history, culture and latest developments of both Hong Kong and China to the overseas students.
Dr Ho retired from the University in 2012 after 35 years of distinguished service. He has previously served on the HKBU Council, first as a staff representative and upon retirement, as a representative from the Baptist Convention of Hong Kong. He is currently the supervisor of three schools, the manager of several other schools, and the Co-Chair of the Character Building Project, a Wofoo Social Enterprises initiative. He is also the Chairman of the Board of Deacons of the Kowloon City Baptist Church, and the Board of Directors of Hong Kong Baptist Hospital.
Since graduating from the Institution, Dr Ho has always been actively involved in the University’s alumni work. He helped strengthen the Century Club of the University, and served as its President for a term. He has continuously made donations to his alma mater, and is now one of the directors of the HKBU Foundation and also a member of its Alumni Committee.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). This saying reflects the unparalleled, exhaustive and yet humble style of Dr Ho’s servant leadership. His service to the University and the community at large has inculcated in young people the attributes of perseverance, innovation and compassion. He has indeed travelled far and wide, and in jubilance, on his journey.